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Graviteam Tactics Operation Star

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This game is awesome! Does anybody else play it?


(watch the steam Trailer)

It is a very realistic real time strategy battlefield simulator set on the eastern front during WW2 (although other scenarios are available too). When I say Battlefield simulator I mean it exactly like that. The troops under your command can range from a few squads to a full division, battles can get quite massive with all sorts of weapon systems involved.

This game was originally released in 2011 by the Ukrainian developer Graviteam as Achtung Panzer Operation Star. The game had some serious bugs and Graviteam also had trouble with the Publisher. They lost the license to their own game and were no longer allowed to work on it, the publisher also did nothing to fix the issues.

Despite this Graviteam continued to release "unofficial" patches for their game and recently they were able to get their own game back in their hands. Updates with new features are still beeing developed for it and the next campaign "Mius front" will bring quite a few very nice looking features into the game.

The maps are very large (over 260km²) and detailed, modeled after topographic maps and photos of that time.

Over 60 Units of the Wehrmacht/SS and the Soviet union are available.

The game is a RTS/Turn based Strategy Hybrid.

Turns happen in three parts.

First you move your platoons in position on the 2D Operational Map, where you manage your platoons, their supplies and plan attacks, your enemy does the same.

If one side attacks the game switches to the 3D battlefield where you and the enemy first deploy your troops during the Deployment and Initial Orders phase, and then battle it out in a real time fight.

A very nice feature: You shape the battlefield during the fights. Houses that are blown up, trenches dug (yes terrain will be deformed by digging, explosions, tank tracks), tanks destroyed, all stays on the battlefield and carries on into the next turns and battles. If a village has been fought over multiple times it will look like a really shitty place after a while.

The Weather is dynamic and can change during battles. Your tanks that were quite happily advancing over flat gras terrain might be stuck in mud just a few hours later. Speaking of time, time progresses during the operation and so you will have to deal with day and nighttime fighting, wich brings its own unique challenges (like not beeing able to see shit until all of a sudden all hell breaks loose and flares and tracer fire illuminate the night).

The attention to detail is amazing, I was quite pleasantly surprised when a immobilised Tiger 1 fired off proximity grenade launchers to get rid of infantry that was sneaking up on it, a feature I didn´t see in any other game.

You control squads and idividual vehicles, not individual soldiers. Orders are passed down through the command chain and won´t be executed until they reach the unit. Telephone and cable squads are available, they lay down wire cables between command posts to speed up the communication. Every soldier has his own basic parameters such as experience, morale and fatigue that determine how effective he will be.

Every weapon has realistic ballistics and penetration abilities and every vehicle has realistic armor values. AT weapons might not always be able to outright destroy a tank, but immobilizing it might be just as valuable because it takes a few hours to repair it.

This game is HARD and confusing at times, the learning curve is quite steep. It certainly isn´t a game for everybody so you may want to give the free Demo a shot before you decide to purchase (although I don´t know how up to date that is).

The game itself doesn´t tell you that much on how to play so you will have to look at some tutorials on youtube.

The additional campaigns that are available mostly focus on other eastern front battles, however there is also one about the 1969 Soviet-Chinese Border incident at Zhalanashkol, one set in 1979 during a fictional Soviet-Iranian war in Afghanistan, and one set in 1988 Angola.

The Steam price is quite expensive (I was able to get everything with 85% off during the summer sale, so less than 30€ in total) but you may be able to find it cheaper elsewhere.

It´s simply the most realistic WW2 RTS I ever played and a whole lot of fun once you understand what you are doing.

Edited by Tonci87

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Here is some gameplay+commentary about a village assault. Gives you a good impression of the game.

Operational and deployment phase


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That tracers.... reminded me a modded tracers in arma 1, where it lights up the ground...

You should see it on a snowmap, at night. The snow reflects the light much better.

Edited by Tonci87

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after the trailers i was kinda surprised to hear that this is RTS/TBS and not a FPS tank game with infantry.

Interesting, basically a technologically advanced and more detailed panzergenerals, nice.

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There are also tank sims from the same developer with Steel Fury set in WW2 and Steel Armor in Cold War scenarious (Angola, Iran Iraq...). T-72 Balkans on Fire is also their game I believe.

All games are very enjoyable. Steel Fury has lots of mods but its "pure" tank sim. Steel Armor has no mods AFAIK but it has a very rare setting and operational command level of Achtung Panzer, so its kind of a mix of a tank sim and a wargame.

My most memorable experience with Achtung Panzer/Graviteam Tactics was when a T-34 tank suddenly appeared in front of my positions and I thought all was lost but my PZ III flamethrower tank has managed to sneak up on it and grilled it until the crew bailed out.

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Yeah flames are really no joke. You should see what happens if a unsupported German Panzer drives into a Soviet trench network with infantry hiding in the trenches. Suddenly he gets showered with Molotovs and AT grenades. That is always fun.

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So, I played a bit of Graviteam tactics and decided that I could do some AAR like stuff. It is the first round of the Shilovo 1942 campaign so it isn´t super exiting yet. Tell me if you like it and want to see more.


4.07.1942 10:00 AM


Shilovo 12km SW of Voronezh


Case Blue, the German 1942 summer offensive has started almost a week ago with the aim to advance towards Stalingrad and the Baku oilfields. So far the offensive is going very well. The 4th army has been able to advance towards Voronezh much faster than anticipated.


The 24 Panzer Division has been able to smash through the front line covering forces of the Soviet 232 Rifle Division near Yunyevka and cross the river Don towards Malyshevo.Now it needs to push through the outskirts of Voronezh towards the city itself. Sadly the bridge over the Don river is not suitable for tanks and artillery, it will take some time until our pioneers can get them across.

At the moment we only have the 21st and 26th Panzergrenadier Regiments engaged with the enemy.




Operational goals:


Hold the Malyshevo crossing over the Don river until our tanks can cross.

Parts of the Soviet 2/498 Rifle Regiment are encircled in a forest north east of Malyshevo. They have to be destroyed before they can be relieved by Soviet reinforcements.

We need to capture the village of Shilovo to gain access to the nearby bridge over the Voronezh river.

To fully secure the bridge we also have to capture both Yakovlevka and Tavrovo on the other side of the river.

Capture and hold the north east road towards Voronezh.




These are the forces at my disposal. The dark red ones (mostly armored units) will arrive later.




TURN 1 10:00 AM




I moved the forces into positions from where they will attack. As you can see the cleansing of the forest to the north has the highest priority. The destruction of the Soviet forces inside will free up a lot of my troops to use elsewhere. I´m also setting up an attack on Trushkino, just to see how well it is defended. I hope my artillery support will weaken the defenses.





The enemy turn.




As you can see one enemy unit north of Trushkino is trying to counterattack my assault from the north. I don´t know yet what kind of enemy unit it is. If those are tanks it could develop into a serious problem...



Battle for the nothern forest


The battle for the nothern forest will be fought first.

The morning fog hasn´t desolved yet but is expected to do so soon. Until then the Luftwaffe won´t be able to fly support missions, a shame really, otherwise my forward air controlers could call in a few flights of Stuka divebombers. Oh well, there will be time for that later.




Deployment Map



The deployment of my units.

The plan is pretty straight forward. Simpy attack from all directions with a lot of fire support.





My men are eagerly awaiting the signal to attack.





Divisional artillery in the form of multiple Nebelwerfer (very heavy multiple rocket launch system) salvos hits all over the forest and concentrated divisional artillery artillery is working on known enemy trench positions. My Artillery spotters guide the fire.







My own battery of light infantry guns is joining in on the pounding.




That treatment leaves some parts of the forest utterly devastated.




As the battle progresses deeper into the forest it becomes clear that the Soviets are hopelessly outgunned they do put up a good fight though.

Finally they decide to retreat and I win the battle.




Still I have lost a lot of men and expended a huge ammount of precious ammunition.



The aftermatch of the Battle is an ugly one. Most of the forest has been damaged by artillery and dead soldiers rest everywhere (gray dots are dead enemies, blue dots are alive ones).





The Operational result is favourable. A few Soviet platoons have been wiped out or routed, only three remain in the nothern part of the forest. The next attack will sweep them away for good.

Before that we have to deal with the attack on Trushkino though. And the fog is lifting, we will be able to call in air support!

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ASSAULT on Trushkino 10:30AM


Oh this is bad. Due to a planning error on my side I actually have much less forces at my disposal than I anticipated, and even worse, no heavy firesupport, no air support. I´m on the brink of calling off the attack until I can reorganize my forces, however that would only give the Soviets more time to bring in more troops and dig in. I have to assault now. I hope this doesn´t bite me in the ass.

I only have 7 platoons of Panzergrenadiers, two 8cm Mortars, two MG42 squads and one 5cm Pak38 Anti tank gun. This is not good.....





My Squads in the west will sweep through the forest and make sure that it is clear of enemies, then they will set up defenses on the east side of the forest to intercept possible enemy reinforcements or assist in the assault on Trushkino village. The forces directly to the west of Trushkino will be the main assault force. The troops to the south will hopefully intercept any Soviet reinforcements coming from Shilovo, my AT gun and one MG42 are down there to cover the open ground. If it becomes necessary I can use the Infantry down there to flank into Trushkino, however I don´t fancy running them over the open field.




My AT gun is looking up towards Trushkino, if there are any enemies in those houses they will receive a nasty surprise. As you can see the weather has cleared up. If only I had some Air support...




My Panzergrenadiers are waiting for the go order.




And off we go, my men are slowly and very cautiously making their way through the forest, the enemy could be behind every tree.




Sure enough, our AT gun has picked up some enemys outside a house, delivery on the way. This is gonna hurt, a lot.








Damn the forest is full of trenches and foxholes with a Soviet inside of every single one of them....




Oh well, fire the Mortars




My men have reached the first trenches.





My men down south came under fire from an enemy AT gun and a Mortar, I managed to decrew both of those with one of my own Mortars.




Sadly the fire from the enemy Mortar and AT gun has cost many lives. The troops that were responsible for the direct attack on Trushkino lost half their strenght, three squads have been almost wiped out.




Still my men are able to capture the trench lines in the nothern part of the forest . Now I can use them to attack Trushkino from the north.




My AT gun is still busy shooting at every building with enemies in the windows.




Only one defensive line remains between my forces advancing from the north and the village, but this one is manned by Soldiers equiped with PPSH guns, that really gives them an edge in this close quarters forest fighting.




My men have finally reached the village, however we have just discovered two more AT guns and a Mortar, all facing north and supressing my men there. I have no choice, I have to send my troops from the south across open terrain to attack the enemies rear.




Off we go let´s hope for the best.




The attack from the south failed, the enemy had another hidden AT gun pointed in that direction...

It seems to have distracted the enemy forces enough so that my nothern squads can push up though.



The SOVIET AT guns cause me a lot of trouble and dead men, only one of my mortars has some ammo left to deal with them, however my men are finally in the village in brutal house to house fighting.




Realizing that the village is about to fall the Soviets send reinforcements from Shilovo. Remember that MG42 squad I left down south by the river? I´m afraid those reinforcements won´t make it.



Knowing that they don´t have the force to recapture Trushkino the enemy offers a ceasefire and I gladly accept. Most of my squads have taken very heavy casualties and Mortarfire coming from Shilovo is picking up. I simply don´t have the numbers to continue pushing.

Trushkino is mine! 

The cost however is terrible. I simply had too few men available for this attack and not nearly enough firesupport. I only managed to win because I was able to concentrate much more of my men on enemy defensive positions and because of my Mortars who did a fantastic job. The Soviets realized that the nothern side of Trushkino is most vulnerable because of the forest that in some places is only a few dozen meters away from the buildings. They fortified that forest with lots of foxholes and trenches and kept multiple AT guns ready at the edge of the village, even one dreaded 76mm Zis3. Those really killed a lot of my men. I will have to disband multiple squads, maybe even a whole platoon and the survivors will be put on reserve duty until replenishments and ammo arrives. The Operation isn´t going smooth at all.....



The counterattack to the north the enemy had planned was called off because Komkovs infantry platoon was caught up in the Trushkino assault.

Shilovo will be much harder to take, but I will make sure to bring much more firesupport for that!

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Nice write-up tonci87, I wish I had the patience or diligence to sit and learn Graviteam's unwieldy tactical interface.


What I wish for much more however is a new tank sim from them. Preferably set in the second Gulf War (no, not the third!). Granted, Saddam's T72's were junk as he was shortchanged by the Soviets, but it'd be interesting to see if you can dig in and thwart columns of Abrams tanks :D

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Yeah the game has a very steep learning curve (more like a wall) simply due to the fact that the game does very little to tell you how things work. The tutorial is a joke.

Thankfully Arch Warhammer (seriously, if you have any interest in WW2, Warhammer or strategy games you should subscribe to him) has created a bunch of really good tutorials on youtube. They teach you everything you need to know.

Here is the playlist.



Some new scenarios would be nice, however the devs are currently working on Mius front (East front 1943 near the Mius river in south Ukraine). I think that won´t be a DLC but a whole new game (of wich features are already making their way into their other games including this one) on the same engine. A new release like that will help to raise their popularity.

Since the Devs are from Kharkov in Ukraine it is very understandable that most of the campaigns are based in or near that area, makes it easier to go out and get photos :D

All battlefields are modeled after real world data at that time and the units are mostly equiped and composed as they were then.

I looked up Voronezh on google maps and tried to find this area where this campaign takes place, however I couldn´t at first. You know why? Because those Soviets build a damn sometime after WW2 and the whole area that in game is a river with marshes and swamps on both sides is now a damn lake. The devs must have studied old maps and aerial photographs to recreate the Shilovo battlefield.


Anyway, I intend to cover all 13 turns of this campaign if the AI doesn´t beat me before that (and the AI in this game is not scripted!). Here is Turn 2.



TURN 2 4.07.1942 14:00PM 



So I reorganized my Forces a bit. Up north I placed my troops in positions that will allow them to completelly encircle the enemy in the Forest and crush them. There isn´t much left to worry about up there. Stepanov with an almost wiped out AT rifle platoon, Ereskij with a SMG platoon that isn´t in a much better state and one unknown unit. I also moved some units eastwards on the nothern plains to ensure that my troops can use the treelines as cover if the Soviets decide to attack along the road from Voronezh.

I also decided to attack the pocket of resistance at the crossroads north of Trushkino. The enemy doesn´t have much there and it will grant me a foothold in the forest north of Shilovo. The enemy has only Komkovs depleted SMG platoon that got whacked hard during the assault on Trushkino, one AT gun battery with possibly two guns (estimated) and one to four unknown units.


I don´t know if that will leave me enough troops to attack Shilovo, although they don´t have much to defend with. Makovetskij with a heavilly depleted rifle platoon, one Artillery battery and one depleted AT rifle platoon. Then there is also Dyakov in the marsh south of Shilovo to worry about, his platton is almost on full strenght.


Everything depends on what the enemy will do now. Will they bring up reinforcements? Will they counterattack? Let´s find out.




So, Komkov would like to assault Trushkino with the forces from Shilovo and the forest north of it, this won´t happen of course since my attack on the crossroads will crush him beforehand.

It doesn´t look as if the Soviets have received any reinforcements yet and I´m very glad that they didn´t attempt an attack across the nothern plains. This will give my troops time to do some digging of their own.


Let us start with the attack on the nothern forest, that will be a walk in the park since I massivelly outnumber the enemies.






Well, this is a very small area we have to sweep, just 1km². I placed my troops so that they can sweep from south and west, I just need to make sure that I set up blocking forces in the north to intercept any fleeing forces. The troops to the east consist of a LIG (light infantry gun) battery and some halftracks, they serve as a blocking and fire support force. I have some halftracks that can cover the few roads with their MGs but I have to be carefull that they don´t get sniped by AT rifles.




Parts of the forest are still really fucked up from the artillery treatment they received during the first assault. (I love that feature, battle damage, destroyed or abandoned vehicles, trenches, craters, some dead bodies, all that is saved by the game and still there in later battles. An area that has seen a lot of fighting will look the part.




And we already found the SMG platoon (little blue dots on the right side of the road, you can even see their trench networks), of course they are entrenched but I have artillery spotters nearby. Divisional artillery incoming, four light 10,5cm field howitzers are shooting at my target.



There it is



Damn I lost a halftrack to an AT rifle, one hit into the engine and it actually caught fire immediatelly bad luck...



Overall the fighting is going very well my men are pushing deeper into the forest. My Mortar halftracks are shooting phosphor grenades into the trenches



My light infantry guns get in on the action, as you can see my men had some time for digging.



An MG 42 is perfect to supress enemies inside their trenches. They don´t dare to poke their head out when this thing is buzzing.



Halftracks are moving in.



We took the trenches, the remaining enemies are fleeing the battlefield.


Now that the battle is over (sorry, forgot to capture the statistics screen) let´s take a look at what really happened to that Halftrack we lost.



The game has a very realistic penetration system that takes accounts for everything. Type of shell that hit, velocity, type of armor, angle of armor and, if the round penetrates, the path the round takes through the vehicle and the damage i causes to individual components (and every vehicle has a lot of those). After the battle you can examine what hit your vehicle (the arrow pointing outwards indicates the angle of the armor). As you can see this SdKfz was hit three times by 14,5mm AT rifle rounds and all of them penetrated. One almost killed the gunner, it must have been a very close call. Two more penetrated the engine, one damaging it, the other one setting it on fire. I won´t be able to repair this one I´m afraid. The halftrack belonged to a telephone and cable squad, all of them managed to get out alive.



That is it, the nothern forest has been cleared. It seems that some enemies managed to escape but I doubt that they will be able to threaten me in any way, even if they manage to regroup.

Next turn I will move all of my units there to the new frontline.

By the way, every blue questionmark on the map is an enemy platoon, I just don´t know what it consists of until I engage with them. So the enemy certainly isn´t defenseless and I guess that they are just waiting for reinforcements before they will mount a largescale counteroffensive. I need to prepare for that!

Our next attacks will determine how that new frontline will look. I´d really like to capture Shilovo this turn. We will see. The attack on the crossroads area will be next and the Luftwaffe will have their first appearance. Kugels platoon has an air spotter attached to it.  :dance1:

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If you look closely you will see that many Unit symbols have a red dot inside them. That means that those units will be present in the battle.

The enemy has Komkovs depleted SMG platoon with only one squad remaining, an AT gun battery with possibly two guns and two additional units of unknown composition.

I have a lot more than that!





This looks interesting, I might have a chance to assault Shilovo in this attack.

Up north I have filled up a treeline with a MG42 and AT rifles to make sure that nothing Soviet enters those fields coming from Celestine 2.

Crossroads is pretty much covered by my large 5cm AT gun battery, if anything Soviet steps out of the forest it will be blown to bits. A large force is set up to sweep the last part of the forest that is north of Trushkino. Troops are in position to assault north Shilovo. My goal in this battle is to capture the Crossroads and maybe Shilovo and Gypsum 1, although I think that I won´t be able to do all of that.


Now I ask myself if I should call in the bombers now right at the beginning and have them arrive within 5 minutes, and be unable to use them later during this battle (they only have 8 minutes time over target). Or hold off and risk having to wait for them up to 15 minutes later on?

I think I´ll call them now, just to be on the safe side.




My Air spotter halftrack is racing towards the forest edge to get a clear view on some trenches I spotted.




Oh look! My Artillery found a Soviet AT Gun. :D



I also brought some 2,8cm anti tank rifles (yes those rifles are so heavy they need a mount with wheels on it), due to the very small calibre they are pretty useless against tanks, however their HE shells are really good vs entrenched infantry.



Now look at that. The Luftwaffe finally arrives to the party. A flight of three Stuka Divebombers is coming in over Trushkino, Shilovo far away in the background.



With howling jericho trumpets the Stukas dive towards their targets, the mear sound beeing enough to chill every Soviet soldiers blood.

Here, klick this link to get yourself imersed properly.




The effect is devastating.



My Artillery spotter use their halftracks to quickly move into positions from which they can best direct the artillery fire, this one is speeding through Trushkino to get to it´s east end.



Damn I lost another cable halftrack.... after the battle we will see what happened to it.

I also lost one other halftrack to Mortar fire.



Meanwhile I have captured the crossroads



One platoon has reached Shilovo



Soon the battle inside the village starts



The battle ends before I can push deeper into Shilovo. Now let´s look at what happened to that halftrack.



Ah ok, it drove into the range of a squad of AT rifles. Multiple hits and penetrations, one knocking out the turret traverse, two hitting the engine. And again the crew got out alive.



So I didn´t get Shilovo because the enemy had some more troops in there but I did get the crossroads and further depleted Shilovos defenders. This gives me a foothold in the forest north of Shilovo. Next Turn will see a large scale assault on that village.  

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TURN 3 4.07.1942 18:00


OK, we are into turn three, this will be the turn where we finally take Shilovo!

This will be the turn where we break through the enemy lines!


THIS WILL BE..... hold on, whats that?...... What do you mean we have a problem? …....Important reconnaissance report?...Well give it to me then....Hey, where are you running to?.....Well, OK, let´s take a look then.............................Awwwwwwwww shit.


OK, change of Situation




If we take a look at this map we can see that the Soviets have received some reinforcements.

From the direction of Voronezh they have received help from the 110th tank brigade. My guess is that they will try to attack down the main road (that means our just captured crossroads are in danger) towards Malyshevo where our engineers are still trying to figure out how to get the rest of our Division across the Don. They better hurry up with that!

The Soviet 1/425 Artillery regiment has set up northeast of Shilovo.

It looks as if I will have to wait until tomorrow for my reinforcements to cross the river.

This is bad..... A powerfull tank attack could crush our defensive lines. However I do have two batteries of long barrelled 5cm Pak38 AT guns up north. They will have to do.




OK, this is my plan for this turn. A lot less ambitious than before, quite simple really.

Capture Shilovo and if possible the forest north of it. Up north on the plains I will remain defensive and start digging in. Let´s see what the Soviets are up to.




Surprising! The Soviets are just reorganising their forces and not attacking yet. I can continue with my assault on Shilovo. Let´s see what we are up against.

In the forest north of Shilovo we have Shitovs At gun battery. Intelligence estimates that they have only one gun left, we definatelly destroyed one in our previous battle. There is also one unknown unit.

Shilovo itself is defended by Markovetskijs rifle platton wich was basically wiped out, he has only very few men left. One Artillery battery with possibly 2 guns and Cherkasovs depleted AT rifle Platoon. The Marsh south of Shilovo is held by Dyakovs Rifle platton that is still on full strenght.


My forces consist of four mostly understrenght Panzergrenadier plattons, one battery of those nice 2,8cm AT rifles, one battery of my awesome 7,5cm light infantry guns and three command platoons who have some Panzergrenadier squads and fire support attached to them. Sadly Major Schaub, the commander of second battallion, has been killed in the last battle when his halftrack received a direct mortar hit. That makes commanding a bit less efficient.



Before we start the battle lets look at some other things first. For all of this fighting some of my men already received medals, here is a small selection (the numbers are a bit hard to see and don´t mind the Achtung Panzer main menu background, it´s from a mod).




As you can see, some of them received the Iron cross second class, or the War Merit cross first class. Two soldiers even received the “Close combat“ clasp, awarded for hand to hand fighting (not in this picture). The most common badge is the Silver wound badge though, beeing given to 21 soldiers. Awarded for beeing wounded more than three or four times, or loss of a hand, foot or eye, facial disfigurement or brain damage......


Next up: The attack on Shilovo


P.S.: If you have any ideas on how to take that town with minimal losses, please post them!


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Assaut on Shilovo




Here is how I deployed my units. Basically every unit, apart from those in a fire support role, will sweep eastwards and then all will converge on Shilovo. Shilovo is the main target, I want that town NOW. The forest north of Shilovo would be a nice bonus since it would be a great position to flank the anticipated Soviet armored attack along the nothern road.





The battle hasn´t even started yet and we can already spot a large number of trenches on the edge of the forest and the town. Preplanned artillery will hit it soon.





Oh look what we found! That thing won´t cause us any more trouble. We also discovered three more guns on the edge of the forest overlooking the direct approach to the town. My troops would have been obliteraded if they tried a direct attack. My men also found a full battery of ZiS3 guns in the nothern forest. I ordered a retreat up there since I don´t have firesupport in place.




Rain has started to fall, extinguishing the fires my artillery started. Together with the beginning darkness it really reduces visibility. (Picture taken from Trushkino looking towards Shilovo)




My men have reached Shilovo from the south, the enemy didn´t seem to guard that side as much as I have feared.




The enemy has formed a defensive line inside houses along a street. It won´t be easy to get them out of there. My men have to fight house to house and clear them out with grenades and explosives.




One of my two Artillery spotter halftracks is moving up to assist with its MG. The rain is turning the earth into mud and the vehicle moves slower than ususal.




Neuperts squad has managed to reach the church and is now using its tower to provide overwatch on a large part of the town.


What´s that noise?




Holly shit! A flight of IL2s is flying towards us. I don´t know of what use they will be considering the poor visibility but still, this is really bad for me. Those Soviet pilots must be crazy!




If the IL2 spot a unit that unit is in a lot of trouble. Look at that rocket run.




They also do gunruns.




Across the town fierce house to house combat is still going on. This Soviet had the missfortune that the house he was in cought fire... We are so close to capturing the town!






We captured the town, most of the defenders are dead. We also captured the bridge across the Voronezh south of the town and the IL-2s have flown back home, they caused only very little damage to my forces.





My men are sweeping in search of last survivors. The light from the burning buildings provides them with just enough illumination that they won´t accidentally step on a Soviet without seeing him.


Wait, what is that sound?

Could it be?




Oh give me a break! Three Soviet T34s Mod 1941 with mounted infantry suddenly come out of the forest just north of Shilovo. I don´t have much to fight them with.....




My 2,8cm AT rifles are doing their best but they just don´t have the power to penetrate.




Yes, my 5cm AT gun has manged to detrack one of the three tanks. I will use artillery called in by one of my spotters to finish it now that it can´t move.




The crew of the detracked tank abandons their vehicle, the other tanks and the infantry pull back into the forest. The sudden fire from my long barreled Pak38 and the loss of one tank seem to have made them reconsider their choice to drive out into the open like that. Good that they don´t know that my Pak38 only had three rounds left wich it all fired to detrack that tank.




One of the tanks has parked next to a ruined house on the edge of the forest. It looks as if the crew has opened the hatch to take a good look around. I immediatelly ordered my light infantry gun battery to bombard that area. That is one more tank down. In the meantime my men up north have captured that part of the forest. The enemy retreats.




This was a grand victory!

Not only did we finally capture Shilovo, we also took the areas north, east and south of it.

On top of that we killed many enemies, disabled 5 AT and infantry guns, two mortars and two T34s. Most of the houses inside Shilovo are now damaged or destroyed.




Let´s take a look at those vehicles.





The Detracked T34 number 203 suffered a number of hits (bright white means it penetrated, grey means it didn´t). Three 2,8cm shells actually pierced the armor at a range below 300m but didn´t do any substantial damage, one 5cm shell (the only one out of three that actually hit something) detracked the tank and damaged its chassis. The crew got cut down while trying to abandon the vehicle.




The T34 number 201 that parked next to the house. Damn, this thing got shot a lot, but only three shells penetrated. One of them went inside the turret and disabled the gun, possibly by killing the gunner.




Number 202, the one that got away. This one received a few hits, only two penetrated, oh look, one of them disabled the gun....

Damn was I lucky. Those tanks didn´t retreat because they were afraid of my Pak38, they retreated because their main guns were not functional! Damn was I lucky! I did loose two of those 2,8cm AT rifles though. They proved to be much more usefull then I could have imagined. trading one 2,8cm AT rifle for one T34? Yes please!. Even the surviving tank will need repairs and be out of the action for a few hours.




The new situation is very much in my favour, I effectivelly punched a hole into the enemies defense line wich I could use to advance along the river, however I simply don´t have the menpower and the ammunition supply to do that right now. I have to hold Shilovo, move in more men, dig in and await reinforcements. Will the Soviets risk an assault during the pitchblack night?  

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TURN 4 4.07.1942 22:00


The offensive is developing successfully. German infantry, to the extent of two infantry regiments, occupied hills to the south of Voronezh.


Historical: By 19:45 neither German artillery nor tanks managed to cross the Don. At 20:20 German foreground was 5km to the south of Voronezh. By the end of the day, a report was sent to the army headquarters telling that infantry was controlling the forest to the north-east of Malyshevo. Tanks were still on the opposite bank of the river Don.



(Yeah, I´m actually slightly ahead of the historic events)




Night has fallen and it´s raining. Visibility is miserable. I think I won´t plan an attack and wait for the Soviets to commit their forces. Now that I have captured Shilovo I can hold my position and wait for my tanks to finally cross the river. Let´s see what the Soviets will do.



TURN 5 5.07.1942 02:00


The Soviets didn´t attack yet, however reconnaisance detected Soviet infantry advancing towards Shilovo. It seems they were just waiting for reinforcements. I expect their attack to happen now or at dawn.




The map shows us that the Soviets have brought up the 687 Rifle Regiment, from the 141 Rifle Division, just south of Yakovlevka. I have positioned a few reserve units along the river Voronezh to guard against a possible crossing attempt. Again I will do nothing and see how they act. I´m not interested in fighting at night because that gives the attacker an advantage because his troops will be spotted only when they have almost reached the defenders. At least the rain has ceased.

I will continue to wait, get my men some sleep and continue digging in. I don´t have the man- or firepower to keep pushing like I did to reach Shilovo, especially not with an unknown number of Soviet tanks around.


If the Soviets delay the attack untill sundawn they will find my men dug in and ready. Let´s see what they do.




Damn it, they are attacking.

The forest to the north of Shilovo and the east end of the town are their targets.

I will fight the forest battle first and basically just try to hold, or at least buy some time. If they send in tanks along with infantry this will be extremelly difficult. If the Soviets play this well they might be able to kick me out of Shilovo this turn. That would suck, I only captured it a few hours ago.


The forest battle will put us against Gavrilovs AT gun battery wich has only one gun left in it, and at least 4, possibly 6, unknown units.

I have 7 more or less depleted infantry platoons. My AT weapons are one squad armed with 7,92mm AT rifles (completely useless against a T34) and one single 5cm Pak38 AT gun. If they bring tanks, wich I suppose they will, I won´t have any other choice than to retreat or try to disable them with artillery. Well, my soldiers do have AT grenades I think (if they didn´t use them up on trenches/houses in previous fights).......


Next up: Forest fight in pitch black darkness.

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Forest defense




This is my setup. I´m concentrating much of my force in the town, especially the artillery and mortars. I will have two divisional (offmap) Nebelwerfer batterys standing by to assist. I have set up infantry platoons along the edge of the valley that leads into the forest, maybe the enemy will try to advance through there. My plan is to ambush the advancing enemy and then keep falling back from position to position to the town. There my troops will make a stand. Even if they have tanks their usefullness will be greatly reduced between the buildings. One squad up north will observe the road leading to the crossraods to warn me if the enemy tries to simply drive around the forest to attack Shilovo from the rear.





One glimpse of the battlefield before I go into the Initial orders pahse and everything turns pitch black. The picture is taken above Shilovo looking to the north. In the centre you can see the valley that leads into the forest. I expect the main enemy assault to happen through that, or along the road you can see on the right side. I have one spotter for a light field howitzer artillery battery, they can assist with illumination flares to help me spot the enemy. The problem is that some of my infantry squads are almost out of ammo....





Oh god thank you, there is a full moon in the sky so it actually isn´t as dark as I thought it would be. I can see something.




My men are waiting in ambush positions, well concealed.





First contact, Soviet infantry is moving through a ditch east of Shilovo, it looks as if they want to get to Shilovos south side. My men are holding fire to not give away their positions yet.




One of my Artillery spotter halftracks is racing towards the south side to use it´s MG against the Soviets if it has to. The lights give it away, but right now speed is more important.





Telephone cable carriers are working hard to establish telephone lines between the local command posts.




This is it, the Soviets are moving up through a ditch just east of the town, not a hundred meters away from my concealed men. And they are advancing right towards an MG42 position.....




I order my men to open up and suddenly tracers fill the air.





The Soviets are shooting flare pistols towards my men to indicate their positions to other Soviet units.




A Soviet Maxim MG from opens up on my men from far away.




When the MG42 opens up its just like a stream of light racing towards the enemy. The effect is devastating.




My observers in the church tower are directing the fire from my mortars onto the enemy that is in the marsh to the south. That together with the MG on my halftrack has stoped the attack from that direction before it even started properly. This is turning into a desaster for the Soviets







Realizing that his attacks from the south and east have been quite unfortunate the Soviet commanders orders troops up the valley and into the forest. They run straight into my prepared positions and are swiftly cut down. I order my artillery spotter to call in a few flares. As you can see the flares fired from the big guns illuminate a huge area.




At 02:45 the enemy aborts the attack and offers a ceasefire. Since many of my men are dangerously close to running out of ammo I`m happy to accept that. Turns out the Soviets didn´t bring any tanks to this party. They have paid with many lives for this failed attack.


However, the night isn´t over yet! The enemy has planed one more attack on Shilovo for this round and this one will be MUCH more dangerous for me, especially now that my men have so little ammo left. I didn´t use up my Nebelwerfer salvos in this fight, maybe they will save me in the next one.

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Night time Shilovo defense




So now we have to defend Shilovo against another attack by the Soviets, this time with much less troops and ammo. As you can see I´m concentrating my entire defense on the town itself, I simply don´t have the manpower or the ammunition to go for a defense in depht. The enemy can attack me from basically every direction. They can move into Karla 2 and then attack the nothern side, go for an assault through the marsh to the east of the town or try to cross the bridge to the south.

I think that most of the really fresh and therefore dangerous troops are south of the river wich is good because there are only two places where they can cross:


The Bridge south of the town:




It is quite far away from the town but I hope I will still be able to spot troops moving across. Maybe I should position one expendable unit there.... Yeah, I´ll do that. Bauer has the honour. He is a platoon commander but his quad only has three men and is almost out of ammo. He will guard the bridge and then haul ass back to the town if he spots something. I can´t simply blow up the bridge because I need it to advance towards Yakovlevka and Tavrovo. I´ve set up my 5cm Pak38 AT gun and one MG42 to guard the bridge.


The Ford:




This ford is shallow enough that infantry and vehicles can pass through it. It is almost 2km away from the town and behind enemy lines. There is nothing I can do to stop them from using it.






One last look at the town before the lights are turned off.





I´m sure the church tower will once again be very usefull in directing my mortar fire. The moon is still high in the sky, visibility is decent.




The AT gun is in a well concealed position, aiming towards the bridge.





The Soviets are punding Greta 1, the area just east of Shilovo, with artillery. This tells me a few things:

The Soviets seem to think that I will try to hold that area, they are overestimating my forces.

They have an artillery spotter...

This is where they will attack (most likely).




Parallel they are also shooting up flares above the east end of the town. This means they have at least two artillery spotters....

My men are inside the houses, the Soviets won´t spot them before I order them to open fire.




Soviet Infantry has davanced over the bridges, Bauer couldn´t run away fast enough. They are on my side of the river now. The MG42 is putting some pressure on them. I´m also pulling up one of my halftracks to assist with its MG.




Oh damn, the Soviets are attacking from the east. Their rifleman are spread out n a long line and cautiously advancing towards the town, I will let them come just a bit closer before I open fire.




My guys open up.




The Soviets didn´t stand a chance out in the open like that. I estimate that my men cut down two rifle squads with no losses on my side.





Enemy movement to the south of the town. I keep calling in flares to illuminate targets for my men. Friend and foe keep shooting flares towards enemy positions to mark them. It´s basically daylight interupted by brief darkness on the battlefield.




I mean, look at this! The large Artillery flares give so much illumination! The flares in Arma 3 are a joke.





The enemy is now attacking from the north as well. I´m facing attacks from three sides now and ammo is critical. This isn´t good. To make things worse the Soviets have set up some kind of artillery gun somewhere that keeps punding my positions.


Large scale infantry assault from the east. It is time for a Nebelwerfer barrage.




The Nebelwerfer barrage wipes out the a portion of the attacking force and panics the rest. The enemy aborts the attack and offers a ceasefire. I accept because by now some squads are out of ammo and one of my Halftracks was immobilized.






This is the halftrack that was immobilised. It actually survived a lot of punishment by Soviet AT rifles, the driver did die though.


I´m really glad that the Soviets offered that ceasefire. My Nebelwerfer just saved my ass. Look at this:




The Soviets were just about to bring a whole platoon over that bridge that they have held in reserve until now. Good thing they didn´t know that I have expended all my available Nebelwerfer salvos...


Although the Soviets did capture Greta 1, which gives them a foothold in Shilovo, I still consider this battle to be a success. I didn´t loose Shilovo after all. I also discoverd that the Soviet brought some 122mm howitzers to the battlefield. Those were the guns pounding away at my positions. They will be trouble later on.

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TURN 6 5.7.1942 06:00


We still control Shilovo. We have made it through the night. New intel is coming in.

According to reconnaissance the Soviets are concentrating a great number of tanks on the south-western outskirt of Voronezh along the Voronezh-Malyshevo roadway. It looks as if they plan to attack down that road




At 08:31 an order from the Headquarters of 24Pz Div was sent to 24 Pz Reg: „Great number of enemy tanks is located in the forest within the positions of 26 Inf Reg, send all long barreled tanks to attack immediately!“


Let´s look at the historical map.




In my case the German 21 Inf Reg has managed to advance into Shilovo and the forest north of it and consequently the Soviet 2/498 Rifle Reg is a bit to the east. My 26th Inf Reg has also advanced up to the treelines on the plains.

The other parts of this map are accurate.

The Soviet 687 Rifle Reg, 141 RD is still south of the river, the 3/498 Rifle Reg is east of Shilovo together with the 2/498 Rifle Reg and the 1/425 Arty Reg.


You´ll notice that a new force has entered the battlefield.

The 441 Tank battalion of the 110 Tank Brigade and it looks as if they plan to attack across the fields.


Let´s take a look at the Operational Map




A few things have changed. The Soviets have captured the east end of Shilovo and I have lost a few platoons in the process.


But take a look to the west.The crossing over the Don has finally been established and most of my Tanks and mechanised units are finally available. And, maybe even more important, five trucks full of precious ammo! It will take some time to distribute that, and it won´t be enough for everybody, but if I can survive the Soviet tank assault I´ll be able to go onto the offensive again.


Now I need to reorganise and reposition my troops.




Now it looks like this. I will receive more reinforcements in a later turn, heavier tanks for example. Again I will not attack but simply defend against the Soviet offensive. Lets see what they do.





OK, the enemy is assaulting Shilovo and the forest north of it. I think I might be loosing those fights since some troops there are out of ammo. Especially the forest fight most likely won´t go well. Because of that I will fight the Shilovo defense first. Depending on what the enemy throws at me I might be able to hold them off there.

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Now seems to be a good time for anyone interested in buying the game with all the DLCs:


95% off



Keep the updates coming!



That is much cheaper than what I paid for it (28,51€ in a Steam sale) at 7,39€ it´s basically a steal!


Just look at this


and by the way, this is the Shilovo DLC trailer here (the thing I´m currently playing)

It gives you a glimpse of the things to come

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Tanks are mean machines.




During the deployment of my tropps I can´t fail to notice that Shilovo has seen better days. Many houses are damaged or destroyed, rubble litters the streets. Gaping craters and trenches provide positions to defend from. I suspect this battle will only make it look worse.




My main defense force is in the town and I intend to keep Shilovo at all costs. A secondary force is up north in the forest and will try to hold their ground or, if the pressure becomes too great, fight a retreat towards Shilovo and Trushkino. A small observation force north of Trushkino is making sure that the Soviets can´t simply take the road into nothern Shilovo.


I do have quite a lot of forces but some of them, including my LiG Battery, are out of ammo or very close to it.

What will help me in this fight is the quite large number of artillery spotters I have. They will be able to call in a hellish rain of explosives on any enemy attacking Shilovo.

I also have two air target spotters who will be able to call in Stukas once the fog clears up.

My main fighting force in Shilovo consists of the divisional combat pioneers. They are more or less like your everyday infantry with the notable addition of a shitload of satchel charges. Something that is very usefull in house to house close quarters fighting or in the case of Soviet tanks rolling up into the town.

Speaking of tanks, I do have three 5cm Pak38 AT guns that I split up to cover the main street, the north flank of Shilovo and the approach from the bridge down south.


I simply have to hold my ground until the fog clears up, the Stukas I will be able to call in then might just be what it takes to tip the balance in my favour.




A quick look at the town. As you can see the visibility is quite shit. I hope it clears up soon so that I can call in the bombers.




Every larger opening in the town is littered with foxholes and trenches. Both my men and the Soviets have been very busy digging.




The soviets don´t fuck around. They immediatelly open up the attack with a few T34s and infantry. I count at least 5 tanks driving into attack positions.





Here we go, they are driving up towards the town, accompanied by infantry (my men can hear the tanks but can´t see the infantry yet). I plan on letting the tanks get into the town where my pioneers can ambush them.




Simultaneously Soviet infantry is attacking up north in the forest.




Damn, the Soviets are using Molotovs against my trenches.




The Tanks are almost within my first positions. By now I count at least 8! T34s. I might have a huge problem here.....




The AT gun on main street is greeting the first Soviet tank.




The first T34 is down, killed by the AT gun.




Confused Soviet tankers are shooting into buildings at point blank range.

By now the enemy is also attacking with large numbers of infantry from the east, south and north. The pressure is too much for my combat pioneers. Panic begins to spread.




My losses are horrible! My plan to ambush the tanks between the buildings didn´t work as well as I hoped. There are simply too man tanks! They are shooting at point blank into the buildings or simply drive into them, crushing the defenders under the debris. At least my AT guns have managed to get two more T34s.




After I call in a shitton of artillery onto the enemy infantry the Soviets offer a ceasefire. With so many Soviet T34s still around I have no choice but to accept.




At least I get to keep Shilovo.

I easily could have lost it. A quick count reveals that the Soviets attacked me with two tank companies. 17!!!! Tanks in total. Thankfully they didn´t commit them all to the attack at the same time.

To my suprise the bridges down south have been destroyed. I have no idea how that happened.




I don´t know if that is a problem or a blessing. For now it will prevent the Soviets from attacking me from the direction of Yakovlevka where they are still concentrating troops but in the future it might also prevent me from attacking that village. A few fords are now the only ways to cross the river.


Let´s take a look at the enemy tanks.




This tank got disabled in the marsh south of the town by our AT gun. One hit damaged the gun and another one took off a track. I don´t know if the Soviets will be able to repair this one since technically it is in an area controlled by me. I guess this is one less tank for them. Sadly my southern AT gun didn´t survive the encounter with all those tanks....




This one got disabled on the eastern outskirts of the village, I don´t know by what though. As you can see the driver got killed and it lost a track. The crew didn´t abandon it though, two guys are still inside manning the turret, one of them is wounded.



This tank got shot into the side by the main street AT gun loosing a track in the process. That together with Satchel charges beeing thrown at it persuaded the crew to get out. In hindsight a really bad idea.



Another tank that got shot at by the main street AT gun (those guys are heroes)

It lost a track, got shot into the turret and the fuel tank. It is understandable why the crew abandoned it.




A Satchel charge thrown out of that building destroyed one of this tanks tracks.




This T34 had a lot of stuff thrown at it. My main street AT gun shot it into the side, rupturing two of its fuel tanks but sadly not setting them on fire. Satchel charges damaged it´s gun.


All in all the Soviets lost three tanks that have been completelly disabled. Three more are so damaged that they will either have to be abandoned or will take a long time to repair. However, they still have at least 11 fully functional T34s in this area....


I have lost one AT gun, another one (main street) has expended all it´s armor piercing ammo.

I also lost a lot of brave combat pioneers and one halftrack.

Up north my men in the forest have managed to defend themselves against an infantry platoon but also took some losses.

I really need to get my tanks into the fight as soon as possible because I won´t be able to hold on against another attack like this.....




Let´s take a look at the Operational Map.

The first noticable thing is that the enemy has cancelled the attack on the forest. That is very good!

Now we can also see those two tank companies in the area. What I need to do now is to swap out the defenders that are very low on ammo or manpower for fresh units. I also need to get some tanks into the town. The Soviets still have a lot of them and their T34s are superior to my Panzer III and Panzer II. It will be interesting to see how this develops.

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